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​​​​Velikonoční Nádivka or Hlavička – Czech Easter Stuffing

April 14, 2020


On Holy Saturday velikonoční nádivka, a special kind of Czech Easter food is baked. It’s full of green spring herbs and smoked meat.

Czech velikonoční nádivka hlavička

What Is Czech Easter Stuffing?

It’s a traditional meal, baked in the Czech Republic just before Easter. It contains smoked meat, rolls dipped in milk, eggs, butter and spring herbs. It is prepared in a pan and baked in the oven.

Traditionally, velikonoční nádivka was baked as the first meat-based meal after a 40-day long fasting before Easter. There were up to 3 kinds of meat included.

Nádivka has different names in various regions of the Czech Republic. It’s also called hlavička, řežábek, sekanina.

czech easter stuffing

Where Did the Name “Hlavička” Come From?

Hlavička means „little head“. The name is based on the thorn crown, said to be on Jesus’ head when he was crucified.

Other theories say that its name is based on its key ingredient, which was a cow´s head, or that it was baked in a circle pan resembling a head.

What Do You Put Into the Easter Stuffing?

Ingredients:

  • Eggs
  • Smoked meat
  • Stale rolls
  • Butter
  • Green herbs
  • Milk
  • Smoked meat broth
  • Salt, pepper, nutmeg

Ingredients vary according to the region. In some places, boiled meat is used instead of smoked meat, in other places, the meat is replaced with klobása, a Czech type of sausage.

You can also shape “nádivka” in a loaf stuffing form, not only to spread it into a baking pan.

Try out also this Czech Easter recipe: Velikonoční jidáše

How to make Velikonoční Nádivka?

  1. Prepare the smoked meat, don’t pour the broth away.
  2. Wash and scald the herbs, let them cool down and chop them.
  3. Dice the rolls and put them into a large bowl.
  4. Beat the yolks with the softened butter.
  5. Whip the egg whites.
  6. Dice the smoked meat.
  7. Pour the rolls over with warm milk.
  8. Add the rest of the ingredients. Flavor with salt and pepper.
  9. Place them into a tray and bake in the oven.
ingredients czech easter velikonoční nádivka stuffing

Recipes for velikonoční nádivka differ, the one here is the traditional one. Today, most people simplify some of the steps, for instance not beating the yolks together with the softened butter. That’s a shame, because the filling is less fluffy.

TIP: Cook the smoked meat ahead! Let the smoked meat cool down in the broth where you cooked it, the meat will be juicier.

How to Serve Velikonoční Nádivka?

Nádivka is eaten both warm and cold. Eat it on its own, or with boiled potatoes.

If you don’t eat all the stuffing in a single day, fry it in a bit of butter in a pan later.

The velikonoční nádivka used to be baked in large quantities and eaten over the course of the whole Easter.

Czech velikonoční nádivka

Spring Herbs in the Stuffing

The stuffing is a form of tribute to the nature that’s waking up after a long cold winter. There is a large amount of wild green herbs that start growing in spring.

The herbs used to be handpicked in forests and meadows, today they’re bought in shops and supermarkets.

One herb is however familiar and useful to the Czechs. It’s the stinging nettle! Stinging nettles are considered a weed here, they grow in ditches. The touch of nettles is easily recognizable – they sting and burn.

nettle kopřiva

Stinging nettles are, however, spring herbs, which are beneficial to your health. They belong in the stuffing, that’s why I picked them on the edge of our garden (wearing gloves, of course).

Other herbs that can be used are: parsley, spinach, spring onion, lamb’s lettuce, chives, leek – all green.

spring herbs

You need a large amount of herbs, at least 3 oz. Before using them, scald them, so that they fit in the pan. Then cool them down quickly with cold water and slice them. Remove the occasional hard nettle stalks.

Velikonoční Nádivka – Czech Easter Stuffing

One of the symbols of the Czech Easter, delicious and full of spring herbs.
Prep Time25 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Total Time45 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Czech
Keywords: czech easter food, czech easter stuffing, velikonoční hlavička, velikonoční nádivka
Servings: 4

Ingredients

  • 3 rolls stale
  • 4 eggs
  • 3/4 stick (80 g) butter unsalted, softened at room temperature
  • 10 oz (300 g) smoked meat fattier
  • salt
  • pepper freshly ground
  • pinch of grated nutmeg
  • 3 oz (80 g) fresh green herbs
  • milk and broth topour over the rolls, maybe 1-1 1/2 cups together
  • butter and breadcrumbs to grease the pan

Instructions

  • Boil the smoked meat: coverthe meat with enough water (1-2 cm above the meat) and cook for 1 hour.Don’t dispose of the broth.
  • Take the butter out of the fridge so that it can soften.
  • Grease the pan with butter and dust it with breadcrumbs.
  • Get the herbs. If you pick them outside, then do it as far from the road as you can. Wash them with ample water. Scald them, then wash them again in cold water and chop them. Remove the occasional hard nettle stalks.
  • Heat up the oven to 350 °F (180 °C).
  • Dice the rolls into pieces about 1.5 cm in size, place them into a large bowl and pour the warm milk and broth over them.
  • Crack the eggs, separate the yolks and whites.
  • Whip the whites and salt together until they form stiff “snow”.
  • Beat the yolks with the softened butter.
  • Add the chopped herbs, diced smoked meat, egg white snow and beaten yolks with butter to the bowl with rolls.
  • Season with salt and pepper and add a pinch of grated nutmeg (make two or three strokes on the grater). Mix everything together.

Notes

This recipe will give you servings for approx. 4 people. If you want to invite more people, you can double the amount of ingredients.
Czech Easter Sfuffing velikonoční nádivka

Did you make this recipe? I would love to hear from you! Please share your opinion or send questions in comments bellow. Thanks a lot!

Happy cooking, and stay safe and healthy everybody, wherever you may be <3

About the Author 

Petra | Cook Like Czechs

Hi, I´m Petra, a Czech mom of 2 hungry teenagers. With the help of my older son I want to share here best authentic Czech recipes. Enjoy flavors of the Czech cuisine!

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